Writings of the general word's body

Sunday, September 24, 2006

new read

"My interaction with a cross-section of contemporary African writers living in the West, suggests that they are slightly irritated by this constant attempt to pigeon-hole them and thereby tele-guide their work toward certain directions pre-determined by the all-powerful gatekeepers of the Western cultural establishment."
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The above, from Muhtar Bakare’s paper delivered earlier this month at the ASAUK conference, is probably a good point at which to introduce a short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jumping Monkey Hill, published in the new issue of Granta print Magazine.

Nigerian Ujunwa Ogundu joins other African writers, including a Ugandan who has just won the “Lipton African Writers’ Prize with a prize of fifteen thousand pounds” - on a Writers’ Workshop held at a hotel in South Africa. The coordinator is Edward, an English benefactor and facilitator of African writing.

“There was a short silence… after the Zimbabwean read an excerpt [of her story]… Then Edward spoke. The writing was certainly ambitious but the story itself begged the question ‘So what?’ There was something terribly passé about it when one considered all the other things happening in Zimbabwe under the horrible Mugabe. Ujunwa stared at Edward. What did he mean by passé? How could a story so familiar be passé? But she did not ask what Edward meant and the Kenyan did not ask and the Ugandan did not ask and all the Zimbabwean did was shove her dreadlocks away from her face… Everyone remained silent."

Jumping Monkey Hill raises questions the average African writer will have to grapple with inwardly, from time to time. There is a story within the story, which connects rather nicely with Ujunwa's experience.

Read Jumping Monkey Hill in
Granta 95.

1 comment:

toan hoc said...

Very impressive and useful. Thank you.